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Job fairs return as college students seek opportunities

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Last spring was a time of uncertainty for many. And for college students looking to get their first job out of school, the loss of opportunities was sudden as many employers stopped hiring.

“One of our first instincts was of course to reach out to seniors, to say, ‘What do you still need help with?’” said Northern State University Director of Career Services Britt Lorenz. “And the other side of that was to talk to our employers.”

Now over a year later, job fairs are being held at Northern State again. Lorenz said it’s amazing to think of how much as changed for both students and employers looking to connect, and hopefully having in-person fairs again will present more opportunities.

“So much hiring has taken place virtually over the last year. But there are certain places that I think still really want to connect with candidates face-to-face.”

One of those students at the fair Wednesday was Cade Larson. The NSU senior said he saw many of his friends last year struggle finding jobs after graduation, and he himself had trouble finding opportunities.

“Last summer, I was looking for an internship. And it was really weird because, you know things weren’t on site or anything like that.” said Larson.

Larson said he’s glad that job fairs have returned to campus, and said that while it’s been necessary to do a lot online the past year, he still prefers connecting in person and learning more about different career options.

“I’m a big in-person kind of talker, I guess. I’ve been living on Zoom just like many people for the past year now. So it’s awesome to see different employers in person.”

Lorenz said that it’s still a much different landscape today for job seekers than it was before the onset of the pandemic. And said that career services has been stressing to students to be open to many options that they wouldn’t have previously considered.

“I think that college students right now should be prepared for anything. The world of work looks differently than it did a year ago, and it’ll probably look different a year from now as well.” said Lorenz.

Lorenz also said that even after the pandemic, students and employers may still be connecting through a hybrid of online and in-person avenues for more than just the immediate future.

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